Have you heard the one about the kindergarten Bible class teacher who was teaching her children about the Golden Rule?
To illustrate the importance of helping and serving others she told the parable of the Good Samaritan. She pointed out that he was good because he served the need of someone who was hurting and desperately needed his help.
The teacher concluded by saying, “Remember, children we are here to serve others.”
With that, a little girl piped up and asked, “Then what are the others here for?”
Too often we’re like the little girl wondering and worrying about “the others.” What are they doing? Why aren’t they helping? When are they going to quit receiving and start giving?
In one of the great and challenging texts of the Bible Jesus issued this admonition to his disciples and by implication and application to each of us.
“But whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matt 20:26-28)
While I don’t agree with all of his theology, Rick Warren was right when he wrote in his best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life: “You were put here to make a contribution. You weren’t created to consume resources—to eat, breathe, and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life…You were created to add to life on earth, not just to take from it. God wants you to give something back.”
Here are nine bullet points from the New Testament about serving.
1. We are saved to serve (2 Tim. 1:9). God wants us to serve Him. Serve our brethren. Serve our fellow-man.
2. We are called to serve (1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Tim. 1:9). The calling is holy. Heavenly. And according to God’s purpose.
3. We are created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10). They are prepared by God. And He said we should “do them.”
4. We are commanded by Christ to serve (Mk. 10:43-45). Service is not optional. It’s required!
5. We serve based on our gifts (Rom. 12:6-7) Paul says that by God’s grace we all have gifts that are unique. Special. Personal. And that we should use them.
6. Our service in the body of Christ is interdependent. We need each other (Rom. 12:3-5)
7. We are to serve one another with the motive of love (Gal. 5:13).
8. Our service builds up the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12). It edifies. Encourages. Enables.
9. We will be rewarded for service (1 Cor. 3:8).
Too often in churches, we think of the preacher as being “The Minister.” Or service being left up to the elders. Or deacons. And while it is true that each of those has a special ministry, it is clear from the teaching of the New Testament that ALL Christians should seek to serve others.
Jesus is our great example. Dr. Luke says, “He went about doing good.” And he calls on us to follow in His steps. To do good. To serve. To minister. Paul exhorted, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal. 6:10)
“Serving others” should be your motto. Make it your attitude. Your action. Your practice. Service says, “I Care.” “I Love.” “I want to help.”
My friend Phillip Mullins once observed, “We communicate betters with deeds than with talk. Love is never sweeter than when expressed with service.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman